Beastly Modernisms

deadline for submissions: 
January 31, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
University of Glasgow

Call for Papers: Beastly Modernisms
September 12-13, 2019
University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland 

 

Keynote Speakers
Kari Weil, Wesleyan University (US)
Derek Ryan, University of Kent (UK)

 

‘I still do not think La Somnambule the perfect title – Night Beast would be better except for that debased meaning now put on that nice word beast.’ – Djuna Barnes to Emily Holmes Coleman

 

​‘Once again we are in a knot of species coshaping one another in layers of reciprocating complexity all the way down’ – Donna Haraway

If modernism heralded a moment of socio-political, cultural and aesthetic transformation, it also instigated a refashioning of how we think about, encounter, and live with animals. Beasts abound in modernism. Virginia Woolf’s spaniel, T.S. Eliot’s cats, James Joyce’s earwig, D.H. Lawrence’s snake, Samuel Beckett’s lobster, and Djuna Barnes’s lioness all present prominent examples of where animals and animality are at the forefront of modernist innovation. At stake in such beastly figurations are not just matters of species relations, but questions of human animality and broader ideas of social relations, culture, sex, gender, capitalism, and religion. Modernism’s interest in the figure of the animal speaks to the immense changes in animal life in the early twentieth century, a period where the reverberations of Darwinian theory were being felt in the new life sciences, as well as emergent social theories that employed discourses of species, and developing technologies and markets that radically alerted everyday human-animal relations. It was also a period in which new theories of human responsibilities towards animals were also being articulated with Donald Watson coining the idea of veganism in 1944.

The recent “animal turn” in the humanities invites new ways of thinking about the beasts that we find in modernist culture. Moreover, animal studies arrives at a point at which modernist studies is already in the process of redefining what modernism means. Turning to modernism's beasts not only promises fresh ways of understanding its multispecies foundations, but also points towards how modernist studies might intervene in contemporary debates around animal life. Building on the foundational work on animals and modernism by Carrie Rohman, Margot Norris, Kari Weil, Derek Ryan and others, Beastly Modernisms invites papers on animals and all aspects of modernist culture. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

•    Animal Life, Species and Speciesism 
•    Beasts, Beastliness and Bestiality 
•    The Creaturely 
•    Unstable Signifiers
•    Animal Rights, Ethics and Politics
•    Anti-Vivisection Movements
•    Bestial Ontologies and Materialities 
•    Queer Animals and Sexuality 
•    Anthropocentrism and Anthropomorphism
•    Human Animality and Social Darwinism 
•    Animal Commodification and Capitalism
•    Race, Class, Sex and Gender
•    Religion, Myth and Animism
•    Wildlife, Imperialism and Hunting
•    Pets, Companion Species and Domestic Animals
•    Biology, Ethology, Ecology and the Natural Sciences
•    Animal Performance, Circuses and Zoos 
•    Animal Trauma, Violence and Warfare
•    Extinction and the Anthropocene  
•    Livestock, Agriculture and Working Animals
•    Meat Production and the Animal Industry
•    Vegetarianism, Veganism and Eating Animals
•    Modernist Animal Philosophy
•    Humanism, Posthumanism and Transhumanism
•    Early- and Late- Modernist Animals 

 

Papers
Individual papers should be no more than twenty minutes in length. Please send an abstract of 300 words and a brief biography to beastlymodernisms@gmail.com by 31 January 2019.

 

Panels 
We welcome proposals for panels or roundtables of 3 to 4 speakers. Please send an abstract of 500 words and speaker biographies to beastlymodernisms@gmail.com by 31 January 2019.

Submissions are open to all researchers at every level of study. We particularly encourage submissions from postgraduate researchers.

 

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